Understanding consumers’ mindset for sustainability-led innovation

One of the world’s leading chocolate manufacturers has for the past few years been dedicated to the sustainable production of cocoa. When they wanted to communicate to consumers about their initiatives in cocoa sustainability, they approached TSI to help them understand Chinese consumers knowledge of purpose-led brands and products.


Insights, Strategy,




Food and Beverage


With a range of existing social initiatives focusing on sustainable cocoa production, one of the worlds leading chocolate brands faced a challenge when it came to communicating these initiatives in the Chinese market. Which of these endeavours did consumers resonate with? Would consumers in China take any interest in the brand helping cocoa farming communities halfway around the world in Africa? And what is consumers existing level of understanding of sustainability in general?

TSI developed a unique approach to understand consumers’ sentiment around sustainability, helping the brand clearly identify differences between different eco consumer segments, and clarify which sustainability social initiatives were understood so they could create authentic sustainability messages which resonate with consumers.


Qualitative and quantitative research • Sustainability Discovery workshop • Communication strategy

Points of Difference

Subject matter (sustainability) expertise • Sustainability Discovery workshop • TSI NavigatorTM data and Hotspex emotional profiling

To understand consumers’ sentiment around sustainability, we used our proprietary Navigator™ technology and Hotspex as the starting point.

To gain a deeper understanding of consumers’ knowledge of sustainability and social causes, TSI facilitated discovery workshops. Participants visualised their perception of sustainability during the hands-on workshop.

TSI’s Sustainability Collage Workshop, developed in-house by our specialised team with decades of sustainability experience.

We tested consumers’ key purchasing drivers for sweet snacks and confectionary, their perception towards brands that claim to act sustainably, and concepts of fair trade products.

We discussed their motivations, attitudes and behaviours around social causes and the practices of sustainability and explored how sustainability would affect consumers’ decision in purchasing chocolate products.

According to the various levels of consumers’ sustainability knowledge, TSI provided implications on how a sustainable chocolate brand could effectively communicate with Chinese consumers via products or sustainability messages.

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